The "Liberator" gun, designed by Cody Wilson of Defense Distributed, is one of five new purchases by The Design Fund of the Victoria and Albert Museum. The idea of a 3D-printed, fully-functional weapon has been causing controversy for years, with Senator Charles Schumer attempting to ban them as security risks and several other parties speaking out against the possibilities. The Victoria and Albert Museum acquired the piece for its design qualities, despite its potential for harm.
On the V&A website, the criteria for The Design Funds purchasing objects for the collection are described in pretty clear terms: "new acquisitions significantly enhance the V&A’s holdings of contemporary design, a collection which reflects what is new, influential, innovative or experimental, and what is representative of contemporary trends in design and society." Though innovation in design was not a major factor in Wilson's contemptuous plan to print a gun, the end result is impressive and a worthy addition to the museum.
The gun, as well as the other newly purchased pieces, are on display now in the New Acquisitions Gallery at the Victoria and Albert Museum.